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How To Maintain Disc Brakes | Easy Fix Disc Brake Tips

How To Maintain Disc Brakes | Easy Fix Disc Brake Tips

(calm music) – For quite some time now disc brakes have been causing quite a stir and whether we like them or not it is quite clear they are here to stay. Now more and more road bikes are coming equipped with disc brakes and becoming increasingly popular on TT or triathlon bike like I have here today so I thought I’d run you through some maintenance tips for them. (logo booms) Okay so imagine this, you get yourself a brand
new bike with disc brakes, you’re so excited you go for
a little spin round the block, you grab a fistful of brake and nothing, it really lacks power. Now don’t worry because this
is actually completely normal, I guess you can kinda compare this to your standard rim brakes ’cause in the same way that
you need to set them up, you need to toe them out and whatnot, you need to set up and
bed in your disc brakes. So for this you need to generate some heat to get them stopping at their best and actually by not doing
this you can end up with some rather noisy, juddery or weak brakes. So what you need to do to
bed them in is pedal up to a moderate speed of 15
kilometers an hour or so. Sit down in the saddle and
apply the brakes evenly without skidding until the
speed drops to a walking pace. Then just release the brakes
whilst you’re still moving and then repeat this roughly 10 times. You’ll feel the brake power
increasing with each repetition and then perform the same set of steps but increase your speed
to 25 kilometers an hour and repeat roughly five times through. Okay so when it comes to
maintaining your bikes such as your chain which mine
really needs at the moment, just be really careful where any oil or aerosol lubricants go
because if you get that onto the disc rotor and therefore
obviously onto the pads it’s not only going to make
the braking sound really bad, it can also reduce that
braking performance. So just be really precise
where you’re using any of this oil or lubricant to reduce that contamination to the disc rotter. Failing that you can
actually remove the wheel to avoid that altogether and
I quite often actually drape a clean rag over that
brake block and the pads to keep them safe and covered. And that leads me nicely
on to the cleaning. (calm music) Now if you do get oil or lubricant onto your disc brake rotters then it’s really important
that you clean them as soon as possible to avoid them getting that lubricant or
oil onto the disc brake pads. Now for this I personally
use a disc brake cleaner like this I’ll spray that over the rotter that will break down that lubricant and then you can use a kitchen towel or an old clean rag to wipe that off. Now this is actually just good practice regardless of whether you contaminate the disc brake rotors or not because if you can do
this from time to time that will just really help to maximize that braking performance. But if you have unfortunately
got it on the disc brake pads well there are a number
of remedies out there some suggest that you can take them out, pop them in the oven or even
bake them with a blowtorch but if you speak to most experts out there they’ll pretty much all tell you just replace them. Now it is pretty much near impossible to fully decontaminate these pads once you’ve got a lubricant or oil on them so to save yourself the
hassle you can get a new set. (calm music) Now probably the biggest
complaint I hear with disc brakes is the rubbing from them. Now they do actually have
quite a small tolerance to play with between the
pads and the disc brakes so it’s really important that
they are set up correctly and you can avoid that rubbing. Now first port of call is to make sure that
the wheel is actually in and I know that sounds
absolutely ridiculous but I’ve actually lost
count of the amount of times that I’ve adjusted my gears
or realigned my brakes only to find out that the
wheel wasn’t fully seated. Failing that you’ll want
to loosen the caliper off, this allows the caliper to move around. Pull the brake lever this will
then square that caliper up. Now keep holding the brake lever and then you can retighten
the bolts for the caliper. And there you go. Another cause of rubbing disc brakes can be when the lever is pulled when a wheel isn’t installed in the frame. And this often happens when
you’re traveling with your bike. You’re tracking your bike
in the back of your car or you’re flying with your bike. Now what’s happening here
is the pads essentially sat on these pistons that quite cleverly move in very gradually
as the pads wear down and therefore reducing that gap between the pads and the disc brakes. So when your wheel isn’t
installed in the frame and you accidentally pull that lever those pads move in closer and therefore end up
rubbing on that disc rotter. If that happens you want
to take the pads out and use something like
a plastic tire lever and gently edge those pistons
back out to reset them, reinstall the pads and off you go. But to avoid all of
this in the first place you could travel with something like this which can slot in between the pads and you’re good to go. But if you don’t have one of
these or you’ve forgotten it you can be imaginative, I’ve
used things like cardboard or credit cards in the past. Now another thing to be wary
of when you’re traveling with your bike is the rotters themselves. Now they’re pretty robust
but they can actually be bent if enough pressure is placed on them. And now the easiest thing to do is actually remove them altogether and it is actually a lot
easier than you think ’cause with a crack
tool like this one here you can simply unscrew the outer cap and quickly slide that rotter off. Which is a really good idea if you’re popping wheels
into a bike bag for instance. But if you are tracking your
bike into the back of a car or something like that then
you maybe don’t need to go quite this far but just make sure that the wheels and the rotters
are really well cushioned so just have some rags or
some cushions at the ready. (calm music) And finally if you’re
using hydraulic disc brakes and they start to feel a
bit spongey at the lever and probably not braking quite so well well it is time to bleed the system. And this is just like
having to replace your cable on your standard traditional rim brakes. Now each brand and sometimes each model have their own methods and bleed kits so just make sure that
you consult your manual or the brand to make sure that
you’re doing it correctly. However if you’re really not sure there’s absolutely no
harm in just popping down to your local bike shop and making sure that the job is done correctly. Another thing to think
about is the pad-wear because the pads do wear
out just in the same way that your standard rim
brake pads will wear out. So just drop your wheel
out from time to time just check that pad-wear, make
sure that you’ve got enough. If they do need replacing just think back to that previous step where we’ll need to push those pistons
back out to reset them and obviously you’ll need
to bed those pads in. Now if you liked today’s video please do hit that thumbs up button. If you’d like to see more from GTN just click on the globe and subscribe. If you’ve got any more
questions about disc brakes please do drop them in the
comments section below. And if you’d like to see
more on bike maintenance and some hacks with that
then just click up there. And if you’d like to see our
disc versus rim brake video then just click down there.

8 comments on “How To Maintain Disc Brakes | Easy Fix Disc Brake Tips

  1. Using something between pads when wheel is removed is a life saver.
    Also when bleeding brakes, remember to use correct fluid, mineral vs DOT.

  2. Thanks! Good video. I only have disc brakes on my mtb, but I‘m glad for this video anyway

  3. Those ENVE decals look great! Are they custom made? I don't see them on their website, and I would like to buy a set for my 4.5 wheelset — the existing red decals are a bit too bright for my matte black bike with red accents.

  4. no need to throw pads away if they get contaminated, just use a light sandpaper and rub away the glossy looking contaminated layer, happened to me numerous times especially in winter and works every time

  5. Centering the pads over the rotor by pulling the lever and tightening in place hardly ever works for my bikes. Any pull from the hose because of how it's attached to the bike tends to affect the alignment. I usually end up going by eye or pushing pads back in and tightening the caliper when evenly over the rotor and let them self adjust into place.

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